Flashcards are fun to make and are very useful for helping children (and adults) learn the signs for the letters of the alphabet. They can also be used for playing different games and other activities. Flashcards can be made in a number of different configurations using basic signs, colors, the alphabet or numbers. However, for this article, I will show you how to make flashcards for the alphabet.
The basic idea behind the flashcards is to show the hand shape for each letter on one side of the cards while the opposite side shows the letter itself. Children love to help make the cards. Cutting, gluing and taking pictures are the perfect activities to get them involved in the project. There are obviously many variations that you may discover when making flashcards. There are no set rules he. The point of this exercise is to have fun and make a useful end product.
The instructions below focus on the assembly of the flashcards. If you are not familiar with the Sign Language alphabet, also referred to as the Manual Alphabet, you will need to learn your letter signs. While there are numerous alphabet charts on the internet, I recommend going to the LifePrint site where you will be able to print out some of the letters and even download the Sign Language alphabet font. Another option is to purchase the Sign Language ABCS Coloring Book and make larger flashcards 5X7″ or so, or buy the downloadable version from TeachersPayTeachers and when you print the pages, choose the option of scaling the images to 25% or 50% before printing. Then you can use them as is or color, cut and paste on the opposite side of the card.
Can you buy pre-made flashcards? Of course! But more learning takes place if you do this on your own, or in a classroom. Whenever you add a kinesthetic activity to your lesson, more connections are made in the brain, even if it is just coloring. So, I believe that this is a worthwhile project.
Supplies needed for flashcards:
Index cards or card stock cut to 3” X 5” or your desired custom size
Pictures or illustrations of the alphabet signs
Letters (stenciled, die cut, or cut from magazines)
Laminating pouches & a laminator(optional)
1.) Print out your alphabet signs (again, you may find these on the LifePrint site, by doing an internet search for Sign Language Alphabet, or purchasing the Sign Language ABCs Coloring Book). Make sure that they are the right size to fit on your index cards. Alternately you can take pictures of your students, friends or family signing each letter. This personalizes the flashcards and makes them more fun to use.
2.) Cut out each hand shape and glue it to one side of the card. Glue the corresponding letter to the opposite side of the card. If you do not have a stencil or die cut letters you may simply write the corresponding letter on the back of the card.
3.) Always allow the glue to dry before moving onto step 4.
4.) Laminate the cards.
5.) Have fun and enjoy!
Note: While laminating the cards is optional, it will keep them from getting damaged and they will be reusable for new children that come along, either in your classroom or in your family. These cards can be used to play memory and matching games, or you may use them for what they are: flash cards.